Temasek Foundation (TF) has launched bond-free scholarships named in honour of three late unionists – Temasek Foundation – G Muthukumarasamy Scholarship, Temasek Foundation – RKS Nachiappan Scholarship, and Temasek Foundation – Nithiah Nandan Arumugam Scholarship (the TF-Union Scholarships).
Unionists Mr G Muthukumarasamy, Mr Nachiappan RK Sinniah, and Mr Nithiah Nandan s/o Arumugam worked tirelessly to champion for the welfare of daily-rated and lower-income workers. Working closely with National Trades Union Congress, they advocated for access to certified training and skills upgrading to improve work prospects and career progression. Profiles of the unionists are in Annex B.
TF will be committing to a grant of over $4 million over a five-year period. Annually, the TF-Union Scholarships will be offered to 39 students from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). Over five years, close to 200 students and their families will benefit from the TF-Union Scholarships.
The TF-Union Scholarships cover living expenses of between $3,000 to $5,000 for each recipient depending on the level of study. Each scholarship also provides a $2,000 family recognition award to be shared among the recipient’s family or household member(s).
The complementary family recognition award in a scholarship award is a first. TF has introduced this to recognise the important role of family members or others who have contributed to a recipient’s life journey. In addition, lower-income families may be financially affected when a potential or current breadwinner or co-breadwinner takes time off to pursue his or her studies. The family recognition award helps to acknowledge their encouragement to the recipients, and mitigate the family’s financial and other sacrifices.
The TF-Union Scholarships are offered to students of all ages including mature students. The scholarships are awarded to individuals from lower income backgrounds who demonstrate academic excellence. Key features of the scholarships are in Annex A.
Applications for the Temasek Foundation Scholarships are now open. The public may contact the respective IHLs for more information. Details are in Annex C.
Mr Lim Hock Chuan, Head of Programmes at Temasek Foundation said: “Individuals who come from lower-income backgrounds may face more hurdles in furthering their education and skills upgrading due to financial pressures. These scholarships aim to give them an extra boost in their educational journey to help them realise their full potential. We hope to inspire students of all ages to follow in the footsteps of unionists G Muthukumarasamy, RKS Nachiappan, and Nithiah Nandan Arumugam, who recognised the value of education and promoted lifelong learning.”
Mr Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari, General Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) agreed: “Brother G Muthukumarasamy firmly believed that the path to uplifting our workers’ livelihoods and their children’s life is through education. Recognising and honouring him, through the Temasek Foundation Scholarship under his name is not only befitting but will remind us to aspire for a better future through pursuing higher education and continuous learning.”
Mr Abdul Samad Bin Abdul Wahab, General Secretary, Union of Power and Gas Employees (UPAGE) said: “Brothers Nachi and Nithiah were strong advocates of continuous education. Brother Nachi always placed members’ aspirations and concerns as his priority whenever he faced management. His commitment to advocate for the Union and members, both at workplace and nationally, has benefitted many members and remains a cornerstone of UPAGE advocacy for the members.”
He added: “Similarly, as one of UPAGE’s founders, Brother Nithiah had set the foundation and instilled the culture of continuous upskilling among UPAGE leaders and members. He believed that through education and knowledge, members will be able to earn better wages and experience improved welfare and work prospects. We are glad that the legacies of both Brothers are carried on in the form of the Temasek Foundation Scholarships which spur on individuals with potential to continue the spirit of lifelong learning to better themselves and their communities.”
As a tribute to these unionists, both unions are launching eponymous book prizes for the children of union members. For more details, please contact [email protected] for the new G Muthukumarasamy Inspiration Award by AUPE and [email protected] for UPAGE’s awards named after RKS Nachiappan and Nithiah Nandan Arumugam.